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Facile win for Minella Indo on seasonal reappearance

October 26, 2020

On his first start since being run down by Champ in that highly dramatic RSA Chase back in March, 8/13 favourite Minella Indo had no problems landing the M.W. Hickey Memorial Steeplechase (Grade 3).

After disputing the lead with market rival, and Kim Muir winner, Milan Native, the 7-year-old took over at the tenth and went clear before the second-last.

He coasted home under Rachael Blackmore to win for the second time, from four starts, over fences.

The 160-rated Beat Hollow gelding was cut to 10/1, from 12s, by Paddy Power for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

After Kapard earlier on, it was a double for Blackmore and also for winning trainer Henry de Bromhead who said: "I'm delighted with that. He jumped brilliant and Rachael was brilliant on him.

“He looked sharp for his first run. We got him in a bit earlier and maybe that made the difference. He looked really sharp today.

"Coming away from the RSA you'd be hoping he'd turn into a Gold Cup horse, but we'll see and we'll take it one race at time. It's very likely he'll go for the race at Navan now next month (the Grade 2, BetVictor Make Your Best Bet Chase).

"He seems to handle any ground and Rachael was delighted with him.

Champagne takes Gold under Robinson

October 25, 2020

Champagne Gold ran out a comfortable winner of the Carnsore Point Maiden Hurdle, scoring under Dylan Robinson for Henry de Bromhead.

Placed in a point-to-point at Boulta for Roisin Hickey, the son of Presenting subsequently changed hands for 90,000 pounds.

Second on his racecourse debut at Clonmel earlier this month, the five-year-old bay was expected to go one place better this afternoon and was sent off the 5/4 favourite.

Settled behind the clear leader Jazz Toes, the Barry Maloney owned victor reeled-in that front-runner approaching four out and took over at the head of affairs.

Briefly headed three out, he quickly regained the lead and went a few lengths clear as they entered the straight, keeping on well from there to see off Place Des Vosges by four and a quarter lengths.

Zarkareva wins Grade 3 Novice Chase under Robinson

January 01, 2020

Five lined up in the Branding Irish Racecourses Novice Chase (Grade 3) and all bar Razoul held a chance racing down to the last.

Having been held up in rear, but in touch, by Dylan Robinson, Zarkareva (5/1) landed running despite just brushing through the top of the final fence and found plenty under hands and heels to beat front-runner Polished Steel (12/1) by two and a quarter lengths.

15/8 favourite A Wave Of The Sea, having made a few novicey errors on the way around, kept on at the same pace after the last to be just a head further back in third.

A 4-year-old by Authorized, the Robcour-owned filly had won a juvenile hurdle in France and, having fallen on her chase debut, easily won a beginners’ chase next time out at Sligo.

She benefitted from getting all the allowances here, being in receipt of 23lb from the penalised runner-up, albeit winning rider Robinson couldn’t utilise his 3lb claim in this Graded contest.

It was his second Graded race victory after winning on Ornua in a Grade 3 at Roscommon a couple of years ago.

"She gave me a great feel and when I asked her to quicken she winged the last and did it all very easily," said Robinson.


“Her jumping got better as the race went on. She travelled nicely and as she was getting there I was taking her back the whole time. I was very impressed with her.”

Baptism Of Fire leads home Gigginstown 1-2

October 14, 2020

Gigginstown recorded a 1-2 in the Ladbrokes Best Odds Guaranteed Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown but not in the order that most would have anticipated as Baptism Of Fire got the better of the odds-on Wide Receiver.

Wide Receiver looked set to justify odds of 8/13 when asserting about four lengths clear approaching the final flight.

However, the favourite was far from fluent at the last and the Henry de Bromhead-trained Baptism Of Fire (6/1-9/2) took full advantage finishing strongly on the run-in to get up close home.

Rachael Blackmore’s mount scored by a length and a quarter, with Valentina Lady keeping on well just a length further back in third.

Blackmore said, “He had to really battle there at the end and is a real stayer. It was a lovely first run.

“He won his point-to-point for Denis Murphy and loves jumping. I’d say he’s going to be a real staying horse.”

Royal Thief gives Blackmore and de Bromhead doubles

October 12, 2020

The two Gigginstown House Stud horses had the Wineport Lodge Beginners’ Chase to themselves as they turned in to face the final fence.

The 6/4 favourite Royal Thief held a narrow advantage over the last but veered left under pressure early on the run-in and gave the challenging Battle Of Midway (15/8) a hefty bump.

Straightened up by Rachael Blackmore, he was holding the runner-up close home and passed the post half a length to the good.

Confirmed the winner after a stewards’ enquiry, the Fame And Glory 6-year-old was giving Blackmore and trainer Henry de Bromhead doubles on the day after Brave Way’s earlier win.

It was a winning chasing debut for Royal Thief, twice a winner over hurdles around Thurles last season, and stamina really looks like this one’s strong suit.

“He was entitled to do that off his hurdles mark and hopefully he can make into a better chaser,” said Blackmore.

No worries for odds-on Brave Way and Blackmore

October 12, 2020

The 1/2 favourite Brave Way comfortably landed the Irish Farmers Journal (Mares) Maiden Hurdle in the hands of Rachael Blackmore (back in action after her fall in the opener at Limerick yesterday).

The Jeremy 5-year-old led away from two out and shrugged off the challenge of Champagne Diva (7/2) before the last, coming home seven and a half lengths lengths clear of that one.

A winner of her only point-to-point at Knockinroe for Warren Ewing this time last year, she was sold shortly after for £160,000 to Honeysuckle’s owner Kenny Alexander and joined Henry de Bromhead.

“It was a really good performance, she's really nice,” said Blackmore.

“She won a point-to-point for Warren Ewing and Richie Deegan and that was a lovely way to start her off.

“She went round there fine. It was a lovely introduction run and hopefully she can build on it now.”

Super-sub Flanagan completes Limerick treble

October 11, 2020

Sean Flanagan successfully substituted for the second time when completing a treble at Limerick today, steering the Henry De Bromhead trained Visioman to win the Limerick Rated Chase.

Flanagan filled-in for injured Keith Donoghue with an opening race win on the Matthew Smith trained Formal Order, before doubling his score with on his scheduled ride Cast Mate in the second race.

Flanagan and Formal Order were the beneficiaries from leader Commandingpresence's fall in that opener and with Commandingpresence's jockey Rachael Blackmore subsequently stood down, Flanagan picked up the 'spare' on De Bromhead's Visionman.

Free-going front-runner Djingle's presence in the race elicited a cheery 'Djingle all the way' prediction from the Irish Examiner's on-course reporter Tommy Lyons, but in the race Visionman did eventually wear down Djingle jumping the last, and scored by four lengths.

Following the race De Bromhead reported “he jumped brilliant and Sean gave him a super ride. It is frustrating for Rachael but is great for Sean and I'm delighted for the Halsalls (owners).

“Rachael is a bit sore and is going to get checked out so hopefully she will be back soon.”

Regarding Visioman he added “it was hard to believe going up the back straight that he could pick up the leader Djingle but the pace they went you'd always hope it might happen.

“Our lad stuck at it really well and he is tipping away nicely, is improving with every run and Dylan (Robinson) was very good on him at Kilbeggan the last day.

“We rode him more forcefully as a novice but he seems to enjoy sitting in. He is great to jump and loves it.

Ask Cory gains first win on third start for de Bromhead

October 05, 2020

In a race where several came to grief, Ask Cory (13/2) was handy all the way in the KWD Beginners’ Chase and kept galloping up the straight to win by three and a quarter lengths from Man On The Run (15/2).

Pat Coyne (10/1) was a further two and three quarters of a length back in third, while the 4/1 favourite Cushinstown Finest was fifth.

The 7-year-old winner, by Ask, had accrued plenty of experience in handicap chases for previous handler Colin McBratney, and was getting off the mark here on his third start for Henry de Bromhead.

Winning rider Rachael Blackmore said: "It was a good performance and he jumped and travelled a lot better today than he did the last day.

"It was the ideal race for him (confined to horses rated 0-102 over hurdles) and he seemed to enjoy it around here."

Stacks Mountain completes doubles for de Bromhead and Blackmore

September 23, 2020

There was a lot less jumping to be done than is usually the case in the Brandon Hotel Beginners’ Chase with the two fences in the home straight omitted due to the low-lying sun.

Stacks Mountain (5/2) tracked Pilbara (7/1) throughout before leading away from the final fence jumped (normally the third-last).

From there Rachael Blackmore (a double after Popong in the mares’ chase) kept him going to beat the latter by eight lengths, with the 13/8 favourite Star Max unable to land a blow back in third.

The winner, a dual hurdles winner by Black Sam Bellamy, had finished third on his first completed start over fences at Killarney last month having unseated rider on his chase debut at Roscommon.

Winning trainer Henry de Bromhead, also completing a double after Popong earlier in the afternoon, said: "I'm delighted with that. Obviously we were missing a few fences but I thought he jumped very well and went through the ground well so I'm very happy and Rachael was happy with him.

“We'll see how he comes out of it and see what we'll do then.

“He seems to appreciate a bit of ease in the ground and has really got his jumping together after the first day.

“I'm delighted for John Byrne. It's great to get one for him down here. Sadly he couldn't make it, he might be preparing for his impending marriage!”

Popong capitalises as favourite tips up at last

September 23, 2020

Popong (9/4) took the Ballygarry House Hotel Mares’ Novice Chase after the 6/5 favourite Western Victory came down at the last when in front.

The market leader had put in a fairly sound round of jumping and looked the winner most of the way, but her nearest pursuers were still snapping at her heels as they approached the final fence.

The favourite clipped the top of it and came down, leaving Rapid Response (5/1) and Popong to fight it out up the run-in. Rachael Blackmore’s whip went flying out the side door but it mattered not as her mount found enough to score by three quarters of a length.

The winner won twice over hurdles and had been runner-up on her chasing debut at Tipperary in July.

Winning trainer Henry de Bromhead said: "She really toughed it out. Conditions wouldn't have been ideal for her and her jumping went to pot a little bit halfway through the race.

“Rachael nursed her around and we got back into it. Obviously we had a bit of luck at the last but I'm delighted for the lads.

“She hadn't run for a while before Tipperary and got tired there. I thought she ran fine that day but we were hoping she'd be better than that.

“That was a great run today and it's great to get her to win one over fences.”